English department adjusts to curriculum changes in second quarter

Allison+Malloy%2C+honors+English+10+teacher%2C+submits+final+grades+for+her+classes+during+SRT.+Malloy+said+the+implementation+of+the+new+English+curriculum+and+the+Common+Core+Standards+has+been+difficult+to+manage.+VICTOR+XU+%2F+PHOTO

Allison Malloy, honors English 10 teacher, submits final grades for her classes during SRT. Malloy said the implementation of the new English curriculum and the Common Core Standards has been difficult to manage. VICTOR XU / PHOTO

Beats

The English department is looking to make several adjustments to its freshman, sophomore and junior classes, which finished their first quarters on Oct. 12 under a new curriculum. English teachers have met frequently to address pacing and content issues with the new curriculum, according to Allison Malloy, honors English 10 teacher.

Allison Malloy, honors English 10 teacher, submits final grades for her classes during SRT. Malloy said the implementation of the new English curriculum and the Common Core Standards have been difficult to manage. VICTOR XU / PHOTO

As the math department did last school year, the English department implemented the national Common Core Standards beginning in the first quarter of this school year. Among other changes, the new curriculum emphasizes the study of both fiction and nonfiction, continuous evaluation and college-level reading comprehension by the conclusion of high school. Principal John Williams cited an educational shift toward skill-based learning instead of content-based learning as the cause of the implementation of these standards.

“Across the board, in science, social studies, math even, this idea of higher level learning and student engagement is gaining traction,” Williams said. “I’m talking about learning that perpetuates itself.”

The first quarter using the new curriculum was not without faults, however, according to Malloy. With a shift toward constant assessment of student ability, teachers like Malloy found the increase in grading work and spacing of assignments difficult to deal with. As a result, many students had few graded assignments until the final weeks of the grading period.

“I think students just need to have a little patience,” she said. “We don’t want to feel overwhelmed, and we don’t want students to feel overwhelmed.”

While Williams said the execution of the Common Core Standards was a work in progress, he commended English teachers for their flexibility in both curriculum changes and ongoing RISE evaluations.

“It’s a very difficult situation, and our teachers have worked their tails off to do what they’re asked and to remain professional to kids,” Williams said. “It’s not like we were bad before. This is about growth.”

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